I was in a meeting where one of the guys said of a church leader, “I love to be in his presence.” The sentence repeated itself in my mind, and I asked myself, Do people love to be in my presence? I could not find a good answer. How about you?
I’m not talking about being smart or funny or the center of attention or anything egotistical. I’m talking about character.
Some people might like to be our presence. But let’s go beyond family, friends, or church members. Do people like to be in your presence? Whether the answer is yes or no, doesn’t the reason largely come down to character?
Looking to the greatest of characters, how much is mine like the character of Christ? From 2 Corinthians 2:15, do I have “the aroma of Christ?” Or to what degree am I “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Or how much do “I no longer live but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20)? Or how thoroughly have I been transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2)?
So to ever-increasingly become a person of whom others might say, “I love to be in [your name]’s presence,” for a believer the way there is to become more like Christ. In pursuing that, what hinders us most? The answer is almost always ourselves. Right? It’s tempting to say, “I already know this.” But ask yourself how much you’re doing it.
To cut through a thousand complications, the most basic key is simple but challenging. It may be best expressed by John the Baptist’s statement about Jesus in John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” Any prayer of “Lord, change me” largely comes down to Jesus’ divine nature increasing in our lives and our fleshly nature diminishing.
Selfish ambition, self preservation, self pity, self centeredness–self, self, self. Jesus becomes greater; self becomes less. Even crucified.
It’s a mindset to be cultivated primarily by letting go–and by intentional, consistent practices in any area of life to empty of self and fill with God. Then we experience his life-giving presence and transforming grace. Who wouldn’t like to be in the presence of someone like that?
I hope you’ll join me on this challenging and fulfilling journey.
Photo credit: gracecamedown.com